22 Songs, 52 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Hollywood legend John Williams received his record 49th Academy Award® nomination for this quiet, introspective score to Brian Percival’s adaptation of Australian author Markus Zusak’s bittersweet WW2 fable. Working as he always has—“with a piano and a pencil,” Williams muses—the composer conjured a score dominated by elegant writing for piano, “because it seemed singular. It seemed personal and private.” But he’s quick to note it’s actually “two pianos sounding as one, something I’d never done before. Playing together, tracing each other, producing a sort of reverberance.” The choice mirrors what Williams calls the film’s double track. "We see this little girl who’s unable to read or write, and what she shows us is that one can achieve solace and immortality through letters: the word, writing. The other track is the providential voice of Death, who seems to be a very embracing and warm person.” He admits he was seduced by “the idea of the solace that can be found in literature, something similar to what we as musicians feel we find in music. And music can be a lifetime obsession that's also a lifesaver, in the way that her life was saved by her passion for books.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

Hollywood legend John Williams received his record 49th Academy Award® nomination for this quiet, introspective score to Brian Percival’s adaptation of Australian author Markus Zusak’s bittersweet WW2 fable. Working as he always has—“with a piano and a pencil,” Williams muses—the composer conjured a score dominated by elegant writing for piano, “because it seemed singular. It seemed personal and private.” But he’s quick to note it’s actually “two pianos sounding as one, something I’d never done before. Playing together, tracing each other, producing a sort of reverberance.” The choice mirrors what Williams calls the film’s double track. "We see this little girl who’s unable to read or write, and what she shows us is that one can achieve solace and immortality through letters: the word, writing. The other track is the providential voice of Death, who seems to be a very embracing and warm person.” He admits he was seduced by “the idea of the solace that can be found in literature, something similar to what we as musicians feel we find in music. And music can be a lifetime obsession that's also a lifesaver, in the way that her life was saved by her passion for books.”

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